Guess the Saints’ brain trust got tired of being asked about Rob Ryan’s status.
After General Manager Mickey Loomis was peppered with questions about the future of the team’s defensive coordinator during his Tuesday’s postseason media briefing and answering that the evaluation process was ongoing, the decision apparently has been made to bring back Ryan for a third season.
While the Ryan family has had enough firings for one season (twin brother Rex was let go by the Jets) and we media types would certainly miss Rob's colorful comments on the one day a week he was allowed to talk to us, it had to be a close call.
The Saints defensive players have talked repeatedly about how much they liked Ryan. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said last week he didn’t want to play for any other defensive coordinator.
When one of your best and most-respected players is that forthright, the team should listen, something Loomis said Tuesday was being taken into account.
And as for sideline friction between Ryan and Sean Payton, that happens between coaches at all levels of football. It just gets overblown because the camera loves Ryan.
At the same time, there was a serious drop off on the defense last season, a decline from fourth in the league in the 2013, Ryan’s first with the team, to 31st in total defense and 28th in points allowed.
The team’s inability to create turnovers was a major liability – perhaps the No. 1 reason why the Saints did not make the playoffs when they only needed to go 8-8 to win the NFC South.
But perhaps the knowledge a month in that there wasn’t a sense of urgency every week to win the division until it was too late had something to do with it. Maybe the players liked Ryan, but didn’t fear his wrath.
Whatever, essentially the same group did not play up to the level it had the year before.
And that’s on the coaching. Whether it takes shaking up the assistants or a tougher attitude, something needs to change.
Loomis and Payton seem to have made the decision that changing coordinators for the fourth time in five years is not the solution.
Whether that proves to be the right way to go will be vital for them all to still have their jobs at the end of 2015.